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Ukraine Leader Puts Military on High Alert Over Threat of 'Potential Aggression

"Russia and the West find themselves on the brink of a confrontation far worse than in 2008 over Georgia."

Parliament Speaker and newly-appointed interim president of Ukraine, Olexandr Turchynov speaks during a session at the Parliament in Kiev on February 23, 2014. Ukrainian lawmakers on February 23 appointed parliament speaker Oleksandr Turchynov interim president, a day after they voted to oust President Viktor Yanukovych following three months of protests. Deputies voted by an overwhelming margin for Turchynov to act as head of state until new elections are held on May 25. Yanukovych, whose whereabouts are unknown, insisted on Saturday that he remained in charge. AFP PHOTO/ SERGEI SUPINSKY SERGEI SUPINSKY/AFP/Getty Images

Story by the Associated Press; curated by Dave Urbanski

KIEV, Ukraine (AP) — Ukraine's acting president says he has ordered the country's armed forces on full readiness because of the threat of "potential aggression."

Speaking live on Ukrainian TV, Oleksandr Turchynov said Saturday he had also ordered stepped up security at nuclear power plants, airports and other strategic infrastructure.

Parliament Speaker and newly-appointed interim president of Ukraine Olexandr Turchynov on February 23, 2014. (Image source: Getty Images/AFP/Sergei Supinsky)

His comments on Ukrainian TV came after Russia's parliament approved a military intervention in Ukraine and Russian troops and pro-Russian units took up positions across the strategic Crimea region.

Vladimir Putin sought and quickly got his parliament's approval to use its military to protect Russia's interests across Ukraine, the AP reported. But while sometimes-violent pro-Russian protests broke out Saturday in a number of Russian-speaking regions of eastern Ukraine, Moscow's immediate focus appeared to be Crimea.

Ignoring President Barack Obama's warning Friday that "there will be costs" if Russia intervenes militarily, Putin sharply raised the stakes in the conflict over Ukraine's future evoking memories of Cold War brinkmanship.

"Russia and the West find themselves on the brink of a confrontation far worse than in 2008 over Georgia," Dmitri Trenin, the director of Carnegie Moscow Center, said in a commentary posted on its website, the AP reported. In Georgia, the Russian troops quickly routed the Georgian military after they tried to regain control over the separatist province of South Ossetia that has close ties with Moscow.

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